McInerney nodded home his third career game-winning goal against the Revs in the late stages, getting on the end of Keon Daniel’s free kick at the back post. Union goalkeeper Zac MacMath made three saves to notch the shutout as the teams combined to register just five shots on target.
The Revs (7-17-8, 29 pts.) remain winless (0-4-3) in seven all-time meetings with the Union (10-15-6, 36 pts.), which has now won three of its past four matches.
Stephen McCarthy’s absence – sidelined with concussive-like symptoms – forced a shift on the Revolution’s backline as Darrius Barnes slid into the middle and Ryan Guy returned from international duty to start at right back. In the midfield, rookie Alec Purdie made his first career start after previously totaling just 33 minutes in four substitute appearances.
Philadelphia was bright early and particularly through McInerney, who looped a tight-angle effort over the crossbar in the seventh minute before lashing a low drive wide of the far post in the 11th minute when he’d been sent in alone.
Only the woodwork prevented the Revs from opening the scoring in the 29th minute. Diego Fagundez fought to wrestle the ball free to Jerry Bengtson and the Honduran forward found himself one-on-one with MacMath. Bengtson rounded MacMath but was forced to a difficult angle and could only direct his shot onto the near post.
The Revs were forced into making their first substitution in the 61st minute when A.J. Soares went off injured, leaving New England with only two healthy natural defenders. Guy covered the gap in central defense, while Purdie shifted to right back.
It was Cardenas who came on for Soares – slotting into a left midfield role – and he almost made his mark in the 70th minute. The Colombian raced onto a through ball but was slowed by the charging MacMath and a backtracking defender, eventually laying a pass off for Bengtson, whose shot was blocked.
McInerney made the breakthrough for Philadelphia in the 73rd minute when he notched his team-leading seventh goal of the season. Shuttleworth tried to claim Daniel’s free kick from the right corner, but the ball sailed out of his reach and found McInerney at the back post, where the 20-year-old powered home a header from less than a yard out.
Guy had the Revolution’s best chance to equalize when Juan Toja’s 85th-minute free kick found him open in the box, but his header was handled by MacMath. Any hopes of a late comeback were dashed shortly thereafter as Benny Feilhaber picked up a pair of quick yellow cards and was subsequently sent off.
The Revs will be off for the international break next weekend before returning to Gillette Stadium for their 2012 home finale as they’ll host the Chicago Fire on Saturday, Oct. 20.